THE FOOD Ethics Council, Soil Association and Compassion in World Farming have collaborated with seven other UK organisations to produce a report which challenges the government’s current UK food and farming policy.
The organisations involved have joined forces to highlight the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the need for major changes to national food and farming policy.
The report – titled Square Meal - calls for stronger government leadership in four key policy areas; public health, particularly the issue of obesity; food poverty; sustainable farming practices; and environmental sustainability.
Its recommendations include a call on the government to “commit the ONS to develop a new Sustainable Diet basket of measures” and “work to make food from sustainable sources more accessible than unsustainable sources.”
The reports also states that the government needs to develop “a clear and robust set of principles” for what constitutes a more sustainable diet.
Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University London and Chair of the Food Research Collaboration says: “The evidence of food’s impact on health is overwhelming, but not enough questions are being asked about whether UK food and farming industries are part of this problem. It’s often put down to consumer choice. But is it? Half of UK cereals are fed to animals.
“We grow ridiculously small amounts of fruit and vegetables when our shops and markets ought to have mountains of good fresh produce. Square Meal raises big questions: what would the UK food system look like if it was designed around health and eco-systems, not just economics? The answer is surely: well, it wouldn’t look like it does now.”
Dan Crossley, executive director of the Food Ethics Council, says: “It is a scandal that in a world where we produce more food than we need, hundreds of millions of people are going to bed hungry at night, and even more are suffering from diet-related diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes that give the lie to ‘cheap’ food.
“Ensuring transparent, traceable and fair supply chains, investing in environmental sustainability and taking a long-term view are all crucial steps to achieving sustainable food and farming systems. And acknowledging the links between poverty, inequality, the environment and poor nutrition is another crucial step in providing good food for all.”
Helen Browning, Chief Executive of the Soil Association says: “The future of our farming industry depends on meeting consumers’ expectations for healthy food, a thriving, beautiful, and wildlife friendly countryside, while cutting pollution, resource use and greenhouse gases. Quite a challenge! This report sets out some of the solutions, and aims to start a debate on how we achieve them.”
The other seven organisations involved in the report are: The Food Research Collaboration, the RSPB, Friends of the Earth, the National Trust, Sustain, the Wildlife Trusts, and Eating Better.
To read the full report please click here.